Tips on Finding Meaningful Graduation Gifts

by - Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Graduation season is an exciting time of much-awaited endings and anticipated new beginnings. For high school graduates, it’s a time of saying goodbye to old friends and embarking on a brand-new journey where they will meet new people and start preparing for life as an adult. And, for college graduates, they’re finally completing their education and getting ready to enter the workforce. 


Whether your favorite student is graduating from high school or college this year, it’s a great time to celebrate a job well done and provide encouragement as they move on to the next phase of their life. Graduation is a huge milestone that deserves recognition and, for many people, that means giving a gift. Cash is always a much-appreciated option, but it isn’t exactly the most meaningful or sentimental option. 

Whether you are shopping for your own child or you want to send a little something to a favorite nephew or niece to show them that you are proud of them, the best gifts are the ones that are simple yet thoughtful. Here are a few tips on finding meaningful graduation gifts that any grad is sure to love

Make It Personal

Anyone can go to the store and pick out a generic gift like a picture frame or a blanket. Unfortunately, though, this type of gift holds little meaning and probably won’t even be remembered within a few months. Instead of getting something generic, go for something more personal. If you were thinking about getting something like a picture frame, get a customized photo gift instead. Find your favorite picture of yourself and the graduate and put it in a monogrammed frame for them. If you have a childhood photo, that’s even better! It will bring up all sorts of happy memories and soothe homesickness when the recipient is feeling down. 

leather weekender bag

Personalized and monogrammed gifts are great too. A monogrammed weekender would be perfect for a high school graduate. It’s the perfect size for trips home on the weekends, and it works well for overnights in other cities, too. 
Choose Something Functional

Whether you are giving a gift to a high school grad who is heading off to college or to a college graduate who will be relocating to start his or her career, think about something that is functional. Dorms and first apartments generally do not have a lot of extra space for knick-knacks and trinkets, so your gift is a lot more likely to make the trip if it’s useful. 

Refillable water bottles or tumblers always make good gifts. Life as a college student or entry-level professional is exhausting, so there’s always a need for something to keep filled up with coffee! A laptop case is a good option, too. Other functional gifts include blankets, portable cell phone chargers, and clothing. 
When in Doubt, Keep It Practical

If you are shopping for a graduate who you don’t know very well or you’re just coming up blank in terms of ideas, it’s best to err on the side of caution and go with a gift that is thoughtful but practical. Find out where the grad will be living, and purchase a gift card to a close-by grocery store or convenience store in their new city. It’s not exactly a sentimental gift, but it’s super practical. And, by purchasing a card that they can use in their new area, you are giving a gift that is thoughtful. 

cleaning supplies

Snacks and dorm or apartment essentials are always appreciated, too. Pick up some shelf-stable goodies, basic toiletries, and cleaning products and arrange them in a laundry hamper for a thoughtful and practical gift that any graduate will love. You can also throw in things like a roll of quarters for the laundry room (or vending machines) or a list of how to remove all sorts of stains or other practical advice. 

When trying to come up with a practical and meaningful gift for a loved one who will be living on their own for the first time, get the entire family involved. Gather favorite recipes from the family and put them in a cookbook. Give the cookbook, along with kitchen essentials like measuring cups and spoons and mixing bowls, and you’ll be giving a gift that allows the recipient to have a little taste of home anytime he or she wants. 

No matter the person you are shopping for, a meaningful graduation gift is one that will be remembered for years to come. Use the tips above to come up with the perfect present for your favorite grade.

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